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Medicine Men gearing up for second Junior B season with new home turf


Akwesasne’s own Bear’s Den Mohawk Medicine Men are returning for a new season in the First Nations Junior B Lacrosse League.

The team will have a new home field - the St. Lawrence Centre Arena in Massena, which has been re-outfitted with an indoor turf field. Coach Kariwate Mitchell said he looks forward to the transition. Last year, some games were called in the third period due to condensation accumulating on the Massena Arena floor and making it too slippery to play.

“That won’t happen this year,” Mitchell said in a news release from the team.

The team has had some lineup changes for their sophomore season, and Mitchell said he’s pleased with the results so far.

“We got some really good additions, I’m really impressed with Abram Garrow. He was a recent transfer from the Akwesasne (Junior B) Indians. He is a strong physical player with good size, I expect him to be a solid force on defense,” Coach Mitchell wrote in an email. “We also picked up a lefty offensive player from Albany, Caden Pedleford. He is really young but he showed that he can play in this league. He scored three goals for us in his first game against Tyendinaga. We will have a lot of returning players. I’m looking forward to a competitive season.”

The Medicine Men’s 2018 season opened on the road, which ended in a 13-6 game going to hosts Tyendinaga Thunder.

“We lost our first game on the road [on May 19] to Tyendinaga Thunder 13-6. We played shorthanded with only 13 runners. We started out strong, we took a 3-0 lead right off the start but after about midway in the first period our guys were just getting too tired. We just got too exhausted with the short number of players,” the coach said. “There are still quite a few kids away at school but I’m hoping we will have a full roster for our home opener.”

The Mohawk contingent have their sights set on the coveted Founder’s Cup this year, but they also have their eyes on the future. Mitchell said that part of building a program is making room for a kid who has five years of lacrosse and to give that player an opportunity to grow.

“I know there are some teams that won’t give young kids a chance, they would prefer to take them when they are 19 (years old), we’re willing to give a young kid the opportunity and help him grow now,” Mitchell said in the release.

And that is exactly what the Medicine Men are doing as they have picked up Ethan Fish, a 17-year-old goalie from Albany, N.Y. Mitchell said that he has a lacrosse friend that is acting as an unofficial scout who put him in touch with the first-year goalie. After seeing Fish between the pipes in only one outing, the team told him they want him for the summer and hopefully for another five years, according to the team’s pre-season statement.

Coach Mitchell will be joined at the helm by his brother, Raweras, and Greg Phillips, as well as Tim Young.

“We are all on the same page, we have similar beliefs when it comes to lacrosse” he said of his coaching staff’s chemistry,” Mitchell said in the release.

The team has a healthy shot at the 2018 Founder’s Cup, which this year will be hosted by the Seneca Warchiefs in Allegany, N.Y.

“We need to win the league or be the highest seeded team excluding the Warchiefs who are automatically in,” Mitchell said in the release.

This could pit the Medicine Men against the other Junior B hometown team, the Akwesasne Indians, if they win the Ontario Junior B berth.


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